Glass trailer breakdown

Fans have been waiting for a sequel to Unbreakable for 18 years. Now, M. Night Shyamalan is delivering that, and then some. Shyamalan’s Glass serves as both a sequel to Unbreakable and his recent thriller Split, and brings together James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson. The Glass trailer dropped during Comic-Con, and it did not disappoint. Below, our Glass trailer breakdown delves into the twists and turns in Shyamalan’s latest.

Glass Trailer

Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple

The trailer opens with Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple, talking directly to the camera. “It’s amazing to meet you,” she says. “It is simply extraordinary.” It’s a jarring start, and Paulson talking to the camera, and, by extension, us, instantly draws us in. Shyamalan has used this looking-into-the-camera method before, but it’s a type of shot perfected by Jonathan Demme (think of all those shots of Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling talking directly to the camera in The Silence of the Lambs).

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After Paulson’s intro, the trailer kicks into gear showing shots of a mental hospital. It’s an isolated, foreboding place, and there’s a stark minimalism to the layouts of each location. “Maybe this will all make sense if I explain who I am,” Dr. Staple continues. “My name is Dr. Ellie Staple, and I’m a psychiatrist. My work concerns a particular type of delusion of grandeur. It’s a growing field. I specialize in those individuals who believe they’re superheroes.”

Glass cast

A quick cut reveals who Dr. Staple has been speaking to: Elijah “Mr. Glass” Price (Samuel L. Jackson), Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), and David Dunn (Bruce Willis). Elijah Price and David Dunn were first introduced in Unbreakable. There, we learned that Dunn has superhuman strength (notice he’s the only one in chains here), while Elijah Price, who suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, staged a series of deadly events in an attempt to discover David, thus becoming David’s arch nemesis.

Kevin Wendell Crumb is from Split, where we learned he was a man with 24 split personalities. The 24th personality is known as “The Beast”, and when Kevin transforms into him, he possesses supernatural powers. Mr. Glass ended up incarcerated at the end of Unbreakable, but it’s not clear how David Dunn and Kevin ended up here. Kevin got away at the end of Split, and David was, of course, the hero of his own film. This is a brilliant set-up to the movie – Shyamalan is flipping the script. He’s asking, “Were all the things I revealed to you in the previous film real, or are these individuals simply delusional?”

David Dunn

“The three of you have convinced yourselves you have extraordinary gifts, like something out of a comic book,” Dr. Staple continues. During this continued monologue, we get a shot of David standing in the rain wearing what is essentially his superhero costume – a rain slicker. “David Dunn,” Dr. Staple says, “the only person to survive that train wreck all those years ago.” She’s referring, of course, to the opening of Unbreakable, in which a train crash – caused by Elijah Price – made David discover he was impervious to harm.

I'm in security

security

“I’m in security,” David tells a date, resulting in a smash-cut of him throwing someone against a wall. David was a security guard in Unbreakable, a fact that was underlined by Elijah Price when he said, “You could have been a tax accountant. You could have owned your own gym. You could have opened a chain of restaurants. You could’ve done of a thousand things, but in the end, you chose to protect people. You made that decision, and I find that very, very interesting.”

Bruce Willis in Glass

Kevin Wendell Crumb

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“You think you have super powers,” Dr. Staple says. “It’s a feeling,” David shoots back. “A vision…I have to touch them…” This is something else we learned in Unbreakable – when David bumps into “bad” people, he has visions of their crimes. We see here how David Dunn first crosses paths with Kevin Wendell Crumb: he bumps into him on the street, and has a vision of a group of cheerleaders chained up somewhere. Abducting young women is part of Kevin’s M.O. It’s also what he did in Split, with the plan to feed his abductees to The Beast.

“You believe you are a protector,” Dr. Staple says, and it’s clear from the tone of her voice she’s not buying it. Again, I find all of this fascinating – will the film present a twist that reveals David is delusional, or is Dr. Staple simply barking up the wrong tree? I’m guessing the latter, but you never know with Shyamalan.

James McAvoy as Patricia in Split

Toothbrush

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After our intro to David, Dr. Staple focuses on Kevin. “I have no question there are two dozen identities that live in that body with you,” she says. During this, we’re treated to an amusing mini-montage of McAvoy acting out some of Kevin’s personalities, including “Patricia”, and the child-like “Hedwig.” We see Hedwig skating around the chained-up cheerleaders, telling them that the Beast is coming for them “any minute.” I love the shot of the many toothbrushes being set-up in Kevin’s cell; it’s a great touch highlighting how all of his personalities are wholly separate from one another.

The Beast

Beast back

Dr. Staple’s conversation with Kevin continues: “What I am questioning is your belief that you are something more than human.” Then we see two distinct moments: one with Kevin jumping down from the ceiling in Elijah’s room – you can see Elijah in his wheelchair in the background. The other has the Beast and his very impressive traps rising up in what looks to be a subway or other underground facility.

Mr. Glass

This all culminates with a wonderful close-up of Elijah with a devious grin on his face. He’s clearly very impressed with Kevin and The Beast, and has some nefarious ideas. The scene cuts to black, and we hear Elijah say: “And yet…it is true.” This is the moment where Shyamalan appears to be underlining the fact that these characters aren’t delusional as Dr. Staple thinks. They are, indeed, “more than human.”

glass contraption

David and Kevin have had their time in the spotlight, now it’s time to zero in on Elijah. “My bones break easily,” he says. “I’ve had 94 breaks in my life.” “But you have an extraordinary IQ,” Dr. Staple counters. To underline this, we see Elijah putting together some sort of device. What this device is, and how he got ahold of it in a mental asylum, remains to be seen. But my guess is this won’t result in something good.

Philadelphia

It wouldn’t be a Shyamalan film without some reference to the City of Brotherly Love, so here’s an obligatory shot of the Philadelphia skyline. “This is not a cartoon,” Elijah says. “This is the real world.”

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